NBC’s 30 Rock got a big boost from its star-studded live episode last night. The episode, which featured appearances by Matt Damon, Jon Hamm, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Liz Lemon in flashbacks as well as several SNL alums, drew a 3.0/9 in adults 18-49, up 43% from last week and a season high. There was a halo effect on the two series surrounding 30 Rock: its lead-in, Community (2.6/8) was up 22%, its lead-out, The Office (3.7/10), was up 6%. NBC’s gaines stopped at 9:30 PM, with new comedy Outsourced (2.5/7) and The Apprentice (1.3/4) both flat with last week. Outsourced’s retention (68%) dropped below 70% for the first time, while The Apprentice’s days in the high-profile Thursday 10 PM slot have got to be numbered after 3 consecutive weeks at a 1.3.
Promising uptick for freshman CBS comedy $#*! My Dad Says (3.1/9, 10.1 million), which was up 7% from last week in 18-49 despite its lead-in, The Big Bang Theory (4.1/13, 12.5 million) being flat. (Big Bang still dominated the 8 PM half-hour and ranked as No.2 for the night behind ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy in the demo.) CBS’ ratings gains carried over to 9 PM, where CSI (3.1/9, 14.3 million) was up 15% with the introduction of Sqweegel, a CSI-proof serial killer from CSI creator Anthony Zuiker’s digi-novel Level 26: Dark Origins, and to 10 PM where The Mentalist (3.3/9, 15 million) was up 10%. CBS won Thursday in both 18-49 (3.3/10) and total viewers (13.5 million) for a fourth straight week.
ABC’s Thursday ratings performance was virtually identical to last week’s. Following a Grey’s repeat (1.1/3), an original Grey’s Anatomy (4.5/12) was down .1 for another first place finish for the night in the demo, while its spinoff Private Practice (3.0/9) at 10 PM was up .1
Ditto for Fox, with Bones (2.6/8) and Fringe (1.9/5) both down a tenth in 18-49 and up a fraction in total viewers. Fringe’s demo tally will go up significantly in Live+7 after the sci-fi drama recently topped the list of DVR gains for premiere week with a 40% ratings boost. Note: CW aired repeats last night.